Donna Cummings sat next to Paul and me at the Pinsky reading last night, and Cummings typifies for me what I hope National Poetry Month is about. She told me she just began writing poetry, and her teacher at CCC-Eastern told her about the Cuyahoga County Public Library website, "Read and Write, 30 Days of Poetry." She signed on for the site and won tickets for the evening event at the beautiful Ohio Theater of Cleveland's gorgeous and historic Playhouse Square. Good for CCPL for making those tickets available.
There were a lot of excellent poets in the audience last night too-- Sarah Gridley (who introduced
|Laura Weldon (l) with CCPL librarian |
Laurie Kincer (r) and Tom Kincer (c)
I'm of the Big-Tent school of poetry, which is why I love National Poetry Month so much. It's not that I think that all poems are great poems or that anyone who writes is a great poet. And like Pinsky I am more aligned with poetry well-read than poetry performance. However, I am all for poetry performance (outloud, off the page...), and I do have two "performance poems." And I am for poetry on the page...and in audio and video, with music backup or not. I don't worry so much about the trivializing of the art of poetry, as some critics of National Poetry Month do, and I don't worry about bad poetry destroying the world or the art as some poets and critics do. Though I don't like reading bad poetry all that much, I've learned from James Wright--just walk to the pasture and invite the insects to join you.
But what I am REALLY for is encouraging people to come into the tent and listen, to have their favorite poems and say why. To make videos and sound files and websites and blogs of poems as well as pages. All of which is to say, I am really for Pinsky and for Donna Cummings. She left before I got to ask her how she liked the reading. I hope she did. I hope she continues to write.